Nigeria limits cash withdrawals and creates controversy

In Nigeria, cash is king, especially most Nigerians, who are mostly underprivileged.

Here, a customer withdraws money in Asaba, November 16, 2016. © Pius Utomi Ekpei / AFP

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2 mins

In Nigeria, the central bank's announcement on Wednesday December 7 to limit withdrawals is creating a stir.

From next January 9, withdrawals will be limited to 20,000 naira per day (42 euros) and 100,000 naira per week for individuals.

This is to push the population towards an increasingly dematerialized economy, but in a country where “ 


 ” remains king, especially for my disadvantaged majority, this announcement risks adding another layer to the social uproar.


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With our correspondent in Lagos,

Liza Fabbian

In his tiny shop, Nuhu sells bread and peanuts and also allows his customers

to withdraw cash

, using the bank terminal on his counter: “ 

I started with a hundred euros in capital.

Going to the distributor is too long for people.


The long queues, the scarcity of banks in certain neighborhoods or certain cities have made these operators of bank terminals essential in Nigeria.

They are remunerated through small commissions.

But the new policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to limit withdrawals could put an end to their business, according to economist Tunde Adjileye:



% to 80

% of their transactions involve exchanging cash for a credit card transaction.

With this policy, people will start hoarding cash.


With this measure, the CBN wants to push more Nigerians to use mobile transfers or their bank cards to promote banking inclusion in the country.

But Gabriel is skeptical:


With all the small shops, 45

euros a day is too little.

People prefer to use cash and the network is too bad for mobile transactions.


The governor of the CBN will have to

justify this policy

before the National Assembly in the coming years: the transition is considered too “ 


 ” and hasty by some deputies.

To read also: 

Nigeria: inflation soars to reach its highest rate in 17 years


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